Friday, April 12, 2024

UFlex Holography Business brings unique anti-counterfeiting and brand enhancement solutions

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Yogesh Kapur, executive vice president, holography business, UFlex. Photo: The Packman

UFlex’s holography business developed a range of new products recently. Its R&D team has been working constantly to produce holograms with new and unique security features. More recently, the holography business won five awards at SIES SOP Star Awards 2020. “There are multiple technologies we are working on,” said Yogesh Kapur, executive vice president, holography business, UFlex, during our recent visit to the holography plant in Noida. With a current production capacity of 60 crore hologram per month, the holography business plans to add more capacities as it acquires more clients.

Kapur said, “Holography has come a long way in the last two decades. You might still call it a hologram but the hologram is not the same hologram that was 20 years ago. Today, a hologram is far more advanced with multi-level security features. For example, hybrid holography is one unique development where we have combined multiple masters, and along with printing and chemical technologies combined, we have made it very unique and very difficult for counterfeiters to replicate. We have not seen this technology being counterfeited yet.”

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Like its other group businesses, UFlex’s holography business is always ahead of the curve when it comes to innovation and new product development. The holography business has been contributing vastly to the anti-counterfeiting market for the last many years. Today, what makes UFlex a strong value proposition as a total packaging solution provider is the ability of its businesses to work in close coordination with each other by extending their respective expertise to produce holistic packaging solutions for its clients.

One of the multiple Gallus label presses at UFlex’s holography plant

Holographic aluminum lidding foil for pharma industry

To arrest the counterfeiting threats in the pharma sector, UFlex’s holography business developed robust anti-counterfeiting solutions through holographic aluminum lidding foil commonly used for blister packs. The holographic foil has overt features that are easily recognizable to the end-user. The foil also allows the use of covert features on this solution lending authenticity to pharma company drugs.

Holographic thermal film for books and publication

The publication industry is one of the worst victims of counterfeiting where duplicators impinge sales by undercutting price and damage authentic brand reputation. In order to address publications’ concern, an eco-friendly transparent holographic thermal film was developed for lamination on book covers that besides protecting it from counterfeiting, also boosts the aesthetics with excellent gloss on the book, enhances cover transparency and fosters good bond strength.

Holographic film for ghee packaging

Ghee is a part of daily consumption in every household and is highly prone to counterfeiting. To fight the menace of duplication, UFlex has developed a customized holographic film for outer carton packaging replacing the use of plain metalized film laminated cartons for a prominent ghee brand thereby helping differentiate pure ghee from the fakes. Anti-counterfeiting features are ingrained in this film’s design, such that it not just prevents it from counterfeiting but also offers a unique look to the carton and adds shelf impact.

Ecommerce, reverse logistics and fraudulent returns

A huge challenge that eCommerce companies are facing today is reverse logistics. Fraudulent returns are a serious concern for retailers. “With counterfeiters becoming more and more sophisticated, eCommerce companies are looking for solutions that can be incorporated as an anti-counterfeiting feature which can only be read by retailers at their end to identify whether the product is genuine. We embed hidden transcripts in these holograms – these companies can identify whether the product returned is an original product by using a certain method. These challenges are unique, so we have to get ahead of the curve,” said Kapur.

Challenges and champions

Innovating new security features and successfully commercializing it is not always easy though, said Kapur. “There are numerable challenges. For any new technologies to be successful, you need champions. People, almost 80%, don’t accept new technologies instantly. They take their time and see others using the technology instead. But there are those 5 to 10% who accept new technologies, go ahead and become the cheerleader – they are the ones championing it. That is when the ball starts rolling. We have identified those champions, whom we are pushing our innovations to. These champions are from multiple fields – liquor, garments, lifestyle, cigarette, etc., where people are very concerned about counterfeiting because it affects their brand.

Backward integration

UFlex uses advanced technologies and specialized equipment to produce holograms. The company possesses in-house capability of offering packaging solutions for premium-category products. “In-house technology and backward integration are the pillars of our strength. We make our own polyester, we have our own metallizer, printing lines, lab, and R&D facility – everything we do is done in-house under a highly controlled environment,” said Kapur.

Speaking about sustainability, Kapur said, “Sustainability is not big an issue in the holography industry because here the value of the product is high but the quantum of product used is less. However, from a corporate point of view, we are very concerned and focused on making sure that all products we produce are environmentally sustainable.”

Dev Kumar Dutta
Dev Kumar Dutta
Dev Kumar Dutta is senior associate editor at The Packman. He joined The Packman in 2018 and comes with extensive print journalism experience.

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